Music Reviews
Håkon Skogstad

Håkon Skogstad

8 Concepts of Tango

Øran / Fonogram

The tango has grown far beyond its origin as a couples dance style in Argentina. In the hands of masters like Astor Piazzolla, the music has blossomed into a complex and compelling form of chamber music that far surpasses its geographic origin, as seen on this album by Norwegian composer and pianist Håkon Skogstrad. 8 Concepts of Tango is his third release of original, nuevo tango music. He is joined on his quest by eight musicians associated with the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra.

For 8 Concepts for Tango, Skogstad drew inspiration from Piazzolla’s group, Octeto Buenos Aires. The eight selections highlight the skills of his soloists in examining different aspects of the tango. “Retroreflections” mirrors the style of classical tango with elements of the new. “A Contemplative Rhapsody” opens with bandoneon players Andreas Rokseth and Åsbjørg Ryeng having a quiet conversation before the piece blooms into a contemplative selection for the full ensemble. The heavier side of tango is found on “The Anvil.” The song’s ominous melody in the bass and cello contrasts with the airiness coming from the violins and bandoneon. “Battaglia” is inspired by Baroque music and represents the power and energy of war.

While some forms of contemporary tango stick to the music’s roots in dance music (some players are even blending electronic dance music with tango), what Skogstad is doing is taking the music into the conservatory and blending it with classical chamber music. I would recommend this to someone who loves orchestral music and film scores.

Håkon Skogstad


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